The cannabis industry is changing, and marijuana legalization brings new opportunities and challenges.That is why Melissa Gibson, owner of the shop Hemp & Humanity in Woodstock, has organized Hudson Valley Cannabis Roll Call, an industry mixer to be held June 10 from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at Seasoned Delicious Foods in Lake Katrine.
The purpose is to foster relationships throughout the supply chain and “co-create a vibrant, productive and inclusive home for cannabis in the Hudson Valley,” Gibson said.“It’s definitely industry focused. It’s not just people who appreciate the plant necessarily. It’s people who are either in the cannabis industry or who are interested in getting into the cannabis industry…There are a lot of growers that are very busy growing things, and they don’t necessarily have the opportunity to come out and meet someone on the product side, or on the retail side…So in order to keep the Hudson Valley really strong in this industry, and make it inclusive and powerful, we need to first find out who each other are and then and affiliate with some of these great organizations that are invited that are sponsoring the event, so that our voices can be amplified, and then potentially collaborate so that we can lead the industry.”
Recreational marijuana is legal in New York, but the state has not yet licensed retailers to sell it. However, it has been legal for licensed retailers to sell hemp cannabinoid products. Hemp, a form of cannabis, contains less than 0.3 percent THC, the psychoactive ingredient that gets people high. Marijuana, another form of cannabis, can contain 5 to 35 percent THC.
“I am a licensed hemp cannabinoid retailer, and there are licensed hemp growers and licensed hemp manufacturers and licensed hemp distributors,” Gibson said.“But as the THC side unfolds, some folks in the current hemp market will switch over and add to it and others won’t…But then there’s also ancillary businesses like accountants and insurance and real estate agents that are also potentially going to be involved. And so it’s an opportunity for them to see what it’s like.”
The mixer is not an educational event, but rather a networking event for people to get to know one another.“That’s why we’re calling it a roll call,” Gibson said.
Nonprofit organizations such as Upstate Black Chamber of Commerce, New York Cannabis Growers and Processors Association and Small Pharma will have a presence at the mixer.
“As one individual or one business, it’s hard to get your voice heard. But if you affiliate with one of these great organizations, then you’re going to be more powerful. And these organizations are looking for active members,” Gibson said.
Gibson scheduled the mixer from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. at a nearby venue because a lot of networking and advocacy is done in the city at night, which is inconvenient for working people in the Hudson Valley to make the round trip.
“That’s why it’s from 6-9. And I specifically brought in the Seasoned Delicious Foods folks, because they are amazing community advocates and they work really hard with bringing people of color into entrepreneurial businesses,” Gibson said.
“They’re going to provide some great food and some drinks and just a chance for people to talk. Sometimes you go to an event and it’s great if you’re learning about something, but there’s not often enough time to just have those conversations that can grow organically.”
A cash bar, raffle and door prizes will be included. Registration is required at hudson-valley-cannabis-rollcall.eventbrite.com.
The event is to be held at Seasoned Delicious Foods, 11 Lohmaier Lane, Lake Katrine, NY 12449.